Free Essay Answering How "A Raisin in the Sun" Complicates the American Dream

Published: 2022-08-19
Free Essay Answering How "A Raisin in the Sun" Complicates the American Dream
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  American dream American literature A Raisin in the Sun Dramatic literature
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1129 words
10 min read

A Raisin in the Sun, give the accounts of a few weeks in the life of the Younger family. The family is African American and living on the Southern part of Chicago in the 1950's. The story begins with an issuance of a $10,000 from an insurance policy that Mr. Younger, the deceased had his life assured. Every individual has an opinion on how the money should be spent, the mother thinks of fulfilling the dream of buying a house because that is a dream she has always anchored with the husband. Walter Lee, the son, also feels that he can invest the money in a liquor store with some of his closest friends. Beneatha, Walter's sister and the daughter to Mama, feels that he can use the money to provide for his medical school tuition and hopes that the family has no interest in joining the white world (Long 2017, n.p). She makes attempts of finding the past and seeking her roots in Africa. Ruth, who is Walter's wife tends to agree with Mama on the issue of buying the house but anchors the hope of Walter being willing to providing more opportunity for their son.

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As the story progresses, everyone within the matriarch of the family anchors a dream which someway complicates the American Dream. The American Dream was introduced by the founding fathers of the United States of America. It gives every person an opportunity of pursuing their desire of acquiring self-indulgence and a necessary driver of a prosperous society. The American Dream is, therefore, an ideal which is protected by the government and offers every person an opportunity to acquire and satisfy their idea of happiness. The dream is also protected by the Declaration of Independence based on the usage of the familiar quote which states that "we retain the responsibility and truth of being self-reflective and evident that all persons are created equally and with certain rights. Among the rights captured in the dream are those of life, liberty and those involved in the pursuit of happiness? The declaration continues to quote the security of the rights are drawn from the fact that governments are instituted by men hence drawing its powers from the people who in this case are the governed (Long 2017, n.p). In a nutshell, the American Dream is a dream intended not only to bring hope and prosperity to the people living within the United States, but to the nation as a whole.

The American Dream thus forms an important part of A Raisin in the Sun. The title of the play itself is deduced from the poem written by a famous author Langston Hughes with the title Harlem, to mean Dream Deferred. Hughes questions in the poem if a dream which is put on hold may eventually dry up like the raisin which is left out in an open space or it will eventually bring an explosion. The scenarios Hughes depicted in the poem seems to take center stage in "A Raisin in the Sun," where every person within the Younger family is hoping for something in life. As noted earlier, the family is made up of five people, Lena Younger who is popularly known in the play as Mama, Walter Lee (Son) who also has a daughter by the name Beneatha and Walters's wife who is called Ruth. The last character (Travis) is a minor one (Wright 2014, n.p). Lorraine Hansberry, therefore, narrates the American Dream based on the distinctiveness of the characters. Every character has a different view and opinion of the dream. For example, Mama wants to fulfill the dream of buying the house. She believes that the house will bring her joy and happiness because her children will not have to live with the rats. It is a dream supported by Ruth. The support means that Ruth's dreams are tied to two people with one being Walter and the other one being Mama. For Mama, it is the issue of the house, and for Walter, it is all about Travis who should be raised in a relatively comfortable environment. The dream proves Lena as a strong-minded individual who does not give up at all cost until something is fulfilled or achieved.

For Walter Lee, the dream is on becoming wealthy and escaping poverty. The only way of achieving the dream is by venturing on the already depicted liquor business. He believes that being wealthy, he will escape the daily routines in life. The situation causes some problem and tension between him, Beneatha, his wife, and Mama. He also fails to take into account that helping the family with their financial needs and problems demands that he listens and take into consideration any concern which they may have. As the play nears the end, reality dawns on him and stands up against Mr. Lindner (Wright 2014, n.p). He refuses the money offered to him by Mr. Lindner, something which changes the dimension of his dream. His dream, therefore, changes from being wealthy but to be a man who can offer help and support to his family. Just like other characters. Beneatha also has a dream of getting a good education and landing her dream career. She wishes to become a doctor and if possible find a nice husband. She is, however, faced with problems of poverty and that of her heritage. She feels that she is African and believe that she can trace her roots back to Africa. The younger family, therefore, find themselves in a struggle where each person is striving towards attaining a dream and much of their moments of happiness and depression are directly inclined towards the attainment or the failure to achieve the dreams.

As the play comes towards the end, it becomes explicit that the dream of building the house is the most important one because it is directed towards uniting the family. Somehow, it appears that Mama's dream may be given priority over other dreams. The kind of dream in "A Raisin in the Sun," therefore, appear to complicate the notion of the American dream because as the story comes to an end, only one dream is given priority. The complication comes in following the requirements of the American Dream where every individual is entitled to equal treatment in the pursuit of their idea of happiness. The final dream, somewhat, appears only to favor one person. The person is Mama. Other people had to withhold their happiness unlike in the case of the American Dream. The American Dream is not only concerned by the overall success of a nation but also that of every person who is part of the nation.

Works Cited

Long, Elizabeth. The American dream and the popular novel. Routledge, 2017.

Wright, William. "A Raisin in the Sun." (2014).

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